Abandoned Vermont: Chelsea House

The town common of Chelsea, VT is lined with historic residences and civic buildings, making it the sort of place where you picture farmers’ markets, kids playing, festivals and good small town American life. Yet, there’s an anomaly sitting on the edge of this green – something you not expect to find within an active village or historic district.

This house in Chelsea faces the town common.

View from the side of the house.

Second floor window.

The gutter is partially intact.

A view into the house from the front window.

What do you make of this? It’s a beautiful large house sitting on the edge of a town common, surrounded by well-kept buildings. This building isn’t exactly abandoned; as I found out, the next door neighbor owns this house. Over the years he had neither the financial means nor desire to maintain this house, and does not plan to.

So the question for discussion that comes from this edition of Abandoned Vermont is: what do you do when there is a historic building in your town (historic district or not) owned by someone who refuses to cooperate in conversation about the importance of his building?   Are there cases in which you have to just let it go? When do you reach that point?

17 thoughts on “Abandoned Vermont: Chelsea House

  1. Housecrazy Sarah says:

    Is this not a case where the local code enforcement could step in? Especially since it is a historic district? Around here if the city gets enough complaints about a derelict house that is not abandoned, they will step in and give the homeowner an ultimatum: bring it up to code or face demolition and the homeowner would be saddled with the cost in either case.

  2. Preservation and Place says:

    Do you know if Chelsea, or other areas in Vermont, have any sort of “Demolition by Neglect” ordinance on the books?
    I don’t think that this is a case where the argument should be let go, especially for its location.
    What does the owner’s house look like next door? Is he taking care of it?

  3. Karri says:

    Here, there would be potential for an “eminent domain” seizure. Although I’m on the fence about eminent domain proceedings. I don’t know that I agree with taking a property from the owner because they aren’t maintaining it as “they”/”us”/”we”/”the neighbors”/”some historic board” sees fit. But I see both sides, and wish there was an option to place some kind of a lien on such properties that the next owner (whether through sale or inheritance) needed to address the blight/neglect/historic preservation/etc or face demolition/eminent domain seizure. This wouldn’t place an undue burden (financial or simply aesthetic) on current owners, but would prevent it from continuing as is indefinitely.

  4. TheDailyDrift says:

    abandoned houses can be so spooky! this one is on the verge of ruin and it’s such a shame – this place looks like it has great potential and a lot of character.

  5. jane says:

    you might talk to someone in Bennington about the Walloomsac Inn, c. 1767, host to 4 US Presidents, fed prisoners after the Battle of Bennington, directly across from the Old First Church in an historic district, down the street from the Bennington Battle Monument…. unpainted, shutters and balconies coming apart, out buildings falling down. The town offered to paint it and was turned down. It is a private residence.Period.

    • Hehe says:

      Well the owner is my pap and his father passed away in the house I mean he used the house as storage some what but he is also old and has strokes but doesn’t wanna do anything to the house bc his father idk all the details but yeah

  6. ddLynn says:

    I’m always saddened to see wonderful old houses, such as this gem, disappear due to neglect. We’ve contacted owners of old abandoned houses in recent years to see if they would sell and we never get anywhere with them. Some hold onto because they want to keep them in the family (although it’s apparent none of them want to live in it) or they just want to keep the surrounding property. If he is not using the property and doesn’t have the means to maintain/restore it, I would hope he would be willing to sell it. It would, after all, be in the best interest of the entire neighborhood. I do hope it is saved!!!

  7. Kaitlin says:

    You all have good points, and I hope in most cases your ideas would be successful in a community. All I know is that this is perhaps a different situation.

  8. Centralia Heart says:

    On the interior picture, what am I seeing in the upper right? is it a reflection or something more interesting? It is a shame that the owner will not fix this place up. It could be a real gem.

  9. Centralia Heart says:

    Good, because I wasn’t too sure, and as a paranormal investigator my mind tends to want to look for stuff. My husband also thought it was a reflection.

  10. chimmyyyychanga says:

    i was told that kids who were abused hide in that house. i used to live in chelsea. it looks creepy, but its fixed up with new painted and builted and someone lives there now.

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